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Province seeking public input on proposed Water Rights regulations

Consultations continue until January 19 with citizen input helping refine the upcoming rules

The biggest changes to Manitoba’s water rights regulations since the late 1980s are expected to be finalized and implemented later this spring, with public consultations on what’s proposed ongoing until January 19.

Manitoba Sustainable Development is proposing Water Rights Regulation that would support a new streamlined approach to drainage and water retention approvals, plus a ‘no net loss of wetland benefits’ approach. The changes would see certain types of routine works to be registered with the department through a simplified process, with protection seasonal, semi-permanent and permanent wetlands enhanced through new requirements that landowners pay compensation for wetland drainage.

The move would enable provincial staff to focus more attention on reviewing high-risk, higher impact projects, with fees adjusted review project applications from a current $25 to $100 for a registration process and $500 for a licensing process. Other proposals include having all tile drainage installations done by licensed installers. There are also changes in requirements for notifying downstream landowners proposed.

The government wants as much feedback as possible on what’s being proposed, said provincial staff. The public consultations began November 29.

“The more comments we get, the better we can amend that piece of legislation to better reflect what Manitobans want,” said Andrea McLean, senior watershed planner with Manitoba Sustainable Development who went over the details during the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association (MCDA) convention in Brandon just before Christmas.

A plain language consultation document is posted online at the Manitoba government website. Additional materials including the proposed Water Rights Regulation can be accessed at the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal.

The province says citizens’s thoughts and suggestions will help refine Manitoba’s proposed Water Rights Regulation.

Questions or comments can be provided by by emailing: [email protected] or mailing Drainage Consultation Box 16, 200 Saulteaux Crescent Winnipeg, MB R3J 3W3

Read more from MCDA in an upcoming edition of the Manitoba Co-operator.

About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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